November 2, 2017

Celebrating Italian Heritage Month with the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

This year's honorees were Enzo Venuto, Maria & Vito Deserio, & Cav. John Napoli
Photos by Cav. Charles Sant'Elia, Lucrezia Nardulli and New York Scugnizzo
By Cav. John Napoli
Last week was very gratifying. My endeavors for the greater Duesiciliano (southern Italian) community were recognized by three different associations! Even though I’m not concerned with personal laurels, I am pleased to see that my hard work does not go unnoticed. The awards I received from the Associazione Amici di Totò and the Comitati Due Sicilie USA were for promoting Neapolitan culture and Compra Sud initiatives, but the honor I received Friday evening from the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata for spreading the faith made me especially proud.
Held at St. Athanasius Catholic Academy in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, partygoers packed into the festively decorated auditorium for an evening of fellowship, music, dancing, and, of course, feasting. Impressively, trays of delicious homemade southern Italian fare, including Giovanna DiDonna’s merluzzo fritto, Lucrezia Nardulli’s polpo e piselli, and Vito Marinelli’s phenomenal scalcione spanned the length of the hall.
Festivities kicked off with the introduction of the society’s board of directors and the National Anthem. To everyones’s delight, young children performed a spirited traditional tarantella and guest appearances were made by the great Dante Alighieri and Cristoforo Colombo. Unable to hold back any longer, revelers delved into the amazing buffet, then worked off the meal with some dancing.
Happy and sated, the award ceremony got underway and the merits and strengths of the honorees were extolled. Congratulations to my fellow recipients, Maria and Vito Deserio, and Enzo Venuto. I’m honored to be counted among you.

During the award ceremony, our dear friend Lucrezia Nardulli was pleasantly surprised by members of the Figli di Santa Rosalia with a well-deserved award of her own. Bravo Lucrezia, you truly earned it!
The evening concluded with more dancing, coffee, dessert, and exciting raffle and 50/50 drawings.
Thank you to all the members of the Figli Maria SS. Addolorata for your customary warmth and hospitality. As always, you went above and beyond the call of duty. Special thanks to President Lucrezia Nardulli, Josephine DiDonna and JoAnn Marinelli for your unremitting dedication to our faith and culture. I’m eternally grateful for the friendship and love you have shown me over the years. 
I would also like to thank my friends from the St. Rocco Society of Potenza, the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, the Circolo delle Due Sicilie USA, and the Figli di Santa Rosalia for your continuous support. It meant the world to me to share my special moment with you all. You are true friends.
Members of the Board and Color Guard stand for the National Anthem
Children dance the tarantella
(Left) Festive decorations adorn the auditorium.
 (Right) Western titans, Dante Alighieri and Cristoforo Colombo
(Above & below) Guests enjoyed a smorgasbord of southern Italian delights 
(Above & below) Local celebrities partake in the festivities.
Rossella Rago, host of Cooking with Nonna, and Andrew Giordano,
frontman of the Black Cats NYC, show their Due Sicilie pride
Marcantonio Pezzano, Francesca Cavaliere and Diana Marie Paunetto
Raw baby octopus
Vito Marinelli's famous Scalcione
Rosa Gentile's amazing Crostata di Pere
Members of the Figli di Santa Rosalia surprise Lucrezia with a plaque
(Above & below) A good time was had by all 
Enzo Venuto (fourth from left) with our friends from the Figli di Santa Rosalia
Our pals Cav. Vincent Gangone and Rosanna Minervini
Members of the St. Rocco Society of Potenza, Circolo delle Due Sicilie USA, and the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George show their support
Revelers trip the light fantastic